Top six omnichannel marketing trends for 2021

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Date: 1 March 2021

A woman uses a tablet for payments, online shopping, networking and omnichannel marketing

2020 completely transformed the marketing landscape. Around 41% of customers have shifted to online shopping during the COVID-19 pandemic.

A study by Customer Think shows that businesses embracing a strong omnichannel strategy will see a 9.5% increase in their annual revenue as compared to 3.4% for businesses that still have a weak omnichannel strategy.

Let's look at the top six omnichannel marketing trends for 2021.

1. Improved AR-based shopping experience

Augmented reality enables omnichannel experiences across the customer journey.

A report by Deloitte shows that over 1 billion smartphones can deliver augmented experience. The report also shows that 100 million consumers are likely to shop using augmented reality.

Augmented shopping allows customers to engage with brands via a digital experience. It enables them to try on, try out, or personalise their selected products virtually.

A global survey by Nielsen shows that augmented and virtual reality are the leading technologies. Around 51% of consumers are willing to use AR technology to check products.

Investing in tools such as Vuforia and Wikitude enables you to provide an immersive experience to customers.

2. Increase in voice searches

A report by OC&C reveals almost USD 40bn will be spent in the USA through voice commerce by 2022.

By leveraging voice search, brands can position their products and services in front of customers.

These voice search assistants are revolutionising the way consumers find products and services.

A report by Capgemini shows that customers prefer to use voice assistants across the customer journey. Also, nearly 70% of the consumers will replace their visits to the store with their voice assistants.

These statistics show that the use of voice search assistants will keep growing as customers are more able to speak than to type.

Integrating voice-search assistants across channels helps customers to seamlessly interact with your brand across touchpoints.

3. Rise of video content

Consumers devote one-third of their time to watching online videos. 

A report by GlobalWebIndex indicates that 56% of internet users watch videos on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, or Snapchat every month.

Also, consumers are 85% more likely to buy a product after watching a product video. 

Therefore, the time is now for social selling through videos. If you have already created your video, then follow these steps to improve your SEO:

  • Use videos on your website: Embed videos on your homepage, product, ecommerce, or FAQ pages. Make sure you embed them on a page with relevant content and information. 
  • Be consistent: Posting just one video is not enough. Posting engaging videos more often you help you get better results. 
  • Add technical details: Adding title, description, tags, and annotations make your video visible to crawlers indexing your site.

Your video content can be in the form of vlogs, interviews, tutorials, presentations, product demos and reviews, testimonials, recordings of live streams, video ads, or webinars. 

To check if your video is successful or not, track the below metrics:

  • View-through rate
  • Watch time
  • Impressions
  • Signups
  • Favourability lift

4. Increased use of chatbots

AI technology is pervasive in almost every new tool or software product and service. One example of burgeoning AI technology is the use of chatbots. They will only become more prevalent in the months and years ahead. 

More than 50% of businesses are likely to spend more on chatbots than mobile apps.

This software communicates with customers and assists them in solving their queries. Around 60% of customers prefer digital self-serve tools such as chatbots to answer their enquiries.

For example, Mastercard developed a Facebook messenger bot that uses NLP software to understand what the customer wants and to automate payment handling.

Here are the best ways to use chatbots in your marketing strategy:

  • Offer a personalised experience: Chatbots gather data about users by integrating with social media. This enables chatbots to solve user queries and offer a personalised solution based on user purchase history. 
  • Reach large audience: Chatbots are usually present on social media platforms, which enables you to reach new customers in other demographics.
  • Move customers through the sales funnel: Collect information to create personalised messages and conduct split testing on those messages. This helps you tailor your marketing strategies for leads visiting your website.

You can create a chatbot on your own. However, software such as Zendesk live chat makes it much easier for you. With the help of these platforms, you have the flexibility to have live chats in real-time.

5. Rise of influencer marketing

Influencer marketing will become a USD 15bn industry by 2022. Nearly 63% of marketers are planning to increase their influencer marketing budget in the coming year.

Currently, 93% of marketers use an influencer marketing strategy.

Consumers make buying decisions based on the connection and impact the influencers have on their lives.

They engage with influencers who have similar interests. It helps brands to drive and showcase their message to the larger market.

Around 78% of marketers using social media platforms are expected to perform better than those who do not use social media platforms.

As per MediaPost, influencer marketing can generate a high ROI of USD 6.50 per dollar spent.

Thus, the right partnerships can lead to the right exposure, leads, and revenue for your brand.

6. Increased payment options

There has been a decrease in cash payments and an increase in the usage of cards and contactless mobile payments. The most common mobile payment options are Google Pay and Apple Pay.

Biometric payments are also gaining wider acceptance. For example, Amazon's palm scanner registers an image of the consumer's palm and allows them to pay by hovering their hand in mid-air.

Juniper Research predicts that mobile biometrics are expected to authenticate more than USD 2 trillion of sales by 2023.

Final thoughts

The COVID-19 crisis has forced businesses to embrace the omnichannel marketing approach to provide a seamless customer experience.

2021 looks likely to be a remarkable year for the marketing industry. Trends such as user-generated content, marketing automation and social ecommerce are becoming the norm. The trends above will have a long-term impact on businesses. Utilising these new opportunities will keep your brand competitive in 2021 and beyond.

Copyright 2021. Post by Sunita Chaudhary, a digital marketing evangelist.

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